With the deep freeze setting in typical of a Minnesota February (and 10″ of snow in the Minneapolis metro yesterday), we’ve being replacing more starting/cranking batteries than any other time, especially on Toyota or Lexus vehicle that are 3-5 years old. Often we’re asked to perform a battery test, the guest wanting to know both how we test our batteries and when they require replacement. Read on.
In general, an automotive starting battery will have it’s ability to provide current in two ratings – Cranking Amps (CA) and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). These numbers indicate the amount of current (measured in amperes, shortened to amps) the battery can provide at 32 degrees (for CA) and 0 degrees (for CCA). For Minnesotans concerned about getting their car started in the frigid temps of February, CCA is the rating you want to pay the most attention to – the more the better.
CARspec stocks and installs high quality Interstate batteries for most applications (and Toyota Genuine for all others) – here’s what the label looks like on a 24F specification battery that fits a late model Camry:
Toyota specifies 582 CCA for the Camry, this battery provides slightly more at 600CCA, meaning it is a great replacement option.
CARspec uses two methods to test a battery for capacity – the factory GR8 Battery Diagnostic Station for digital load testing and charging, and the more old-school manual load tester. The digital load tester automatically tests and charges the battery once you’ve identified the vehicle, giving a reliable “Good” or “Replace” indication based on the measured CCA capacity and the battery’s behavior when varying loads are applied. The GR8 typically recommends replacement if the battery falls below 75% of its CCA. It’s an incredibly powerful method of testing a starting battery in the car:
The older method involves a manual load tester – the technician loads the battery down with half of it’s rated CCA and monitors the voltage. A healthy, fully charged battery should be able to maintain voltage above 9.6 volts for 15 seconds. Anything else requires replacement. We use the manual tester for batteries with lower CCA ratings (like in the Prius) or to diagnose more intermittent starting issues:
If the need for a new battery should arise we stock the overwhelming majority of Toyota and Lexus’s replacement batteries:
As Minneapolis’s premier independent Toyota and Lexus maintenance and repair specialist we can diagnose and replace most battery failures in less than 30 minutes, so if you’ve got a starting concern don’t hesitate to give us a ring at (952)426-4798 today!